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PBS Annual Meetings 2019: Breakout Sessions

PBS welcomes your Annual Meeting Breakout Session submissions.

Based on attendee feedback and lessons learned from prior Annual Meetings, this year’s line-up will include a curated list of sessions produced by PBS member stations, PBS employees, and other public media organizations. Should time permit, some of the most popular sessions (as voted on by the public media system) will be repeated.

How many Breakout Sessions are available?

We have space and time for up to 32 Breakout Sessions. There are 4 one-hour time periods and 8 individual rooms. Some of the most popular sessions may be repeated to give more people an opportunity to attend.
  • Wednesday, 5/29/19 (two 1-hour time periods)
  • Thursday, 5/30/19 (two 1-hour time periods)

How many Networking Meet-Up Sessions are available?

This year, the Networking Meet-Up sessions will take place on the first day of the conference and will happen simultaneously in one or more rooms. Similar topics may be combined to maximize space. The number of Meet-Ups will be limited to the space available.
  • Wednesday, 5/29/19 (one 45-minute time period)

What’s the difference between a Breakout session and a Networking Meet-up session?

Breakout sessions are 60-minutes long, organized around a particular topic, designed to share knowledge, or help you develop professionally. Breakouts usually have a scheduled line-up of presenters, panelists, or facilitators and often follow a set agenda. Breakouts are held in individual rooms and include A/V support. There are four time periods scheduled for Breakout Sessions (see above).

Networking Meet-Up sessions are 45-minutes long, organized around a particular topic, designed for networking, information sharing, conversation, and discussion. Networking Meet-Up Sessions require a facilitator. Sessions may be held simultaneously at different tables in the same large room or scheduled in individual rooms (to be determined based on available space). There may be no A/V support available. There is one time period scheduled for Networking Meet-up sessions (Wednesday, 5/29/19).

What questions are asked on the submission form?

Click here ( to see a list of questions from the submission form. This list is for reference only. Please use the online form to submit your session proposals.

What should potential session producers consider when submitting a proposal?

Topics suggested by attendees who completed the 2018 PBS Annual Meeting Survey are listed here: Prior to submitting a proposal, please also consider:
  • Sessions should be station-focused and include station voices and perspectives. Some of the most successful and popular sessions bring together staff from different stations sharing their best practices, next practices, success stories, and lessons learned.
  • When thinking about your “key takeaways,” what are the most important things to remember from your session? What will your attendees learn and what should they take back to their station colleagues?
  • Consider how attendees will use this information, especially at smaller stations where employees perform many different job functions. Cross-station and cross-discipline collaborations are highly encouraged!
  • How will you build in elements that make the sessions interactive and engaging? How will you encourage attendees’ participation? Tip: we’re looking for more than 10 minutes of Q&A at the end.
  • How is your event, process, project, or campaign scalable for larger and smaller stations? How is it scalable for larger and smaller budgets?
  • Based on feedback from previous Annual Meetings, the number of speakers (including the facilitator/moderator) is strictly limited to 5 people.
  • Lectures and speeches are strongly discouraged!

What is the timeline for this process?

Date (approx.)Item
11/15/18Request for breakout session proposals announced; intake form open
11/28/18Webinar regarding submission process, timeline, and selection criteria
12/11/18Webinar regarding submission process, timeline, and selection criteria
12/14/18Deadline to submit breakout session proposals; intake form closes at 11:59 pm ET
1/7/19 – 1/11/19Online voting open for 5 days; all are welcome to vote for their favorite sessions
2/15/19All submitters will be notified of the status of their proposed session
3/1/19 – 3/29/19Strategy meetings with session producers to work through details of the sessions
3/29/19Deadline for session producers to submit final titles, descriptions, and speakers

Why should I vote for my favorite sessions?

Online voting will help the planning team determine the most popular sessions; some of those sessions may be repeated. Your vote counts! Only 1 vote per IP address is permitted. Voters may vote for their favorite session in each voting category. Voting may inform the selection decision but will not determine the final line-up of Breakout Sessions. The Annual Meeting planning committee – with guidance from the PBS Senior Management Team – will determine the final list of breakout sessions.

How do I sign up for a webinar?

11/28/18, 4:00pmETRegister here:
12/11/18, 4:00pmETRegister here:


Where do I submit my proposal?

Who should I contact with questions?

Carol Sorber
PBS Station Services